197 acres allocated for Zewail City to end Nile Uni. dispute
Zewail City for Science - Photo courtesy of blogs.nature

CAIRO: Interim President Adly Mansour issued a presidential decree on Wednesday, allocating new land in October 6 City for Zewail City for Science and Technology.

His decision came after reaching a settlement on Sunday, allowing Nile University’s access to one of the contested buildings, and in turn allocating new land for Zewail City.

Mansour held a meeting on Sunday with representatives from the Nile University and Zewail City to reach the settlement, putting an end to the prolonged disputes between the two institutions that lasted for over three years.

Presidential Spokesperson Ihab el-Badawy said that about 197 acres will be allocated for Zewail City, in accordance with the law, through the usufruct system without payment, MENA reported.

Disputes between Zewail City and Nile University, located in October 6 City, date back to 2011, when Nobel Prize laureate Ahmed Zewail chose the buildings and lands of Nile University to establish a new learning and research center called Zewail City for Science and Technology.

Meanwhile, the media advisor of Zewail City Sherif Fouad said that the Zewail City’s administration welcomed the move.

Fouad clarified to The Cairo Post that the decision came in response to Dr. Zewail’s request for devoting land for the project, after the mounting disputes with the Nile University.

“Of course such disputes hampered completing the project, but now the state allocated a land for the project, and we will begin a national campaign to garner support for the project,” Fouad added.

Fouad noted that the project will need funding amounting to approximately U.S. $2 billion.

“The project will rely on the donations offered by the government and people,” Fouad said, clarifying that the project is the first national project of its kind, being both public and private, as both factions will contribute in completing it.

On March 22, the Supreme Administrative Court issued a verdict in favor of the Nile University over Zewail City in a land dispute between both institutions.

However, Zewail City did not abide by the court ruling, despite it being a final and enforceable verdict, which in turn led the president to intervene with a decree, Al-Ahram reported.

In 2012, students of the Nile University organized a sit-in inside the university to pressure Nile University and Zewail City to resolve the issue, as they were forced to leave their original university buildings when Zewail City had taken ownership.

Additional reporting by Sara Osama Shoureap.

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